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Is Your Communications Policy Mired in the Past?

by G.A. 'Andy' Marken  |  
April 17, 2007

First of all, if you're reading this article, you likely don't have these problems. But... you do know of companies and PR people who suffer from this malady.

We know that in theory corporate policy is to encourage creative thinking and growth. The communications policy is to quickly and accurately support all of your audiences. In fact, you're encouraged to think of new ways to efficiently and effectively accomplish that goal... as long as it follows corporate policy and conventional wisdom.

Let's examine three of these conventional wisdoms.

1. Public relations should be the sole spokesperson for the company

The more mature the company, the more mature the PR policy. Unlike business processes and procedures, as well as product lines, that are constantly evaluated regarding their value to the company and the consumer, PR policy is seldom scrutinized. Few departments look closely to see whether old efforts, measures, and controls make sense in today's environment.

Many monolithic firms have a clear policy that conceals marketing, product, and engineering management from the press. Rather than provide these knowledgeable people with adequate editorial contact training and guidance, policy dictates that all queries be centrally managed, filtered, and controlled.

In an era of global communications, some still focus on managing, even manipulating news coverage.

In this scenario, the probing press-type explains the problem, question, issue to the PR person. He or she will interpret it to one or more of the internal contacts, who will then filter the query to someone else who will provide an answer (or partial answer). This will be passed to the PR person, who will then provide the information to the member of the media.

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G. A. "Andy" Marken is president of Marken Communications Inc. ( Reach him via

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